An Introduction to Permaculture (and Its Symbiotic Relationship with Agorism)

An Introduction to Permaculture (and Its Symbiotic Relationship with Agorism)

September 18th, 2016

By Tim Bryant

Guest writer for Wake Up World

One of the focuses of both The Last American Vagabond and Wake Up World has been to not only properly diagnose all the problems facing humanity at this current juncture, which undoubtedly is important, but also to evolve past that by discussing solutions to these problems. In the end, what’s the point of understanding all these problems if the alternative community is not going to step up to the plate and do something about it.

One of those real-life solutions that is incredibly powerful and totally plausible is permaculture. Originally rooting itself in the idea of “permanent agriculture”, the basic premise of permaculture is to build sustainable life systems — whether it’s food and water cultivation, community development, or technological implementation — that work within the natural laws of the universe, as opposed to systems that only benefit humanity, yet harm natural ecological systems.

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Affordable, Eco-Friendly and Energy Efficient: How Re-Purposed Plastic Waste is Helping to Solve Humanity’s Housing Crisis

Affordable, Eco-Friendly and Energy Efficient: How Re-Purposed Plastic Waste is Helping to Solve Humanity’s Housing Crisis

22nd August 2016

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

“In Latin America, Africa and Asia 40% of people don’t have access to formal housing. In Bogota alone 750 tonnes of plastic is sent to landfill every day. It can take up to 500 years for plastic to biodegrade and 75% of plastic produced globally is either sent to landfill or not formally disposed of and so is left to pollute the environment.” ~ Unilever Sustainable Living

According to EcoWatch: Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times. Ninety-three percent of Americans age six or older test positive for the plastic chemical BPA. Billions of pounds of plastic can be found in our oceans, and all-out bans on plastic bags and bottled water are making little headway. To make matters worse, conventional recycling programs are ineffective at best; only two types of plastic are widely recyclable, and even then, it’s downgraded into other products which cannot be recycled further, eventually ending up in landfill, or worse, in the ocean, where plastic seriously harms wildlife, the ecosystem and our health.

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A Saltwater Powered Sports Car? It’s True — and Europe Just Made it Street Legal

A Saltwater Powered Sports Car? It’s True — and Europe Just Made it Street Legal

2nd July 2016

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Not so long ago, excitement rose to a fevered pitch with the announcement of a budget Tesla car slated to hit the streets in 2017. The cars are gorgeous, seemingly easy on the environment and in a price range the average Joe can afford. But over the last few years, there have been disgruntled murmurings about how electric vehicles aren’t that environmentally sound. Some feel they can actually be worse for the planet than combustion engines, since they often rely on conventional electricity sources to recharge. So while the idea is appealing in theory, the reality isn’t so rosy when we look at their actual impact. The same can be said for other technologies like hydrogen fuel cell and hybrid cars.

There is one advancement, however, that could be a genuine game changer in the realm of eco-friendly cars: saltwater powered vehicles.

Continue Reading – A Saltwater Powered Sports Car? It’s True — and Europe Just Made it Street Legal

The Price We Pay for Fighting Pests With Chemicals and Genetic Engineering

The Price We Pay for Fighting Pests With Chemicals and Genetic Engineering

2nd August 2016

By Dr. Joseph Mercola

Guest writer for Wake Up World

As noted in a recent article by The Atlantic,[1] history is rife with pest control experiments gone terribly wrong. Today the stakes are higher than ever, as scientists are increasingly turning to genetic engineering to affect environmental change.

Earlier this year, the Zika virus, which is carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, was declared a worldwide public health threat.[2],[3] Besides calling for increased use of chemical sprays against mosquitoes, focus quickly turned to the idea of releasing genetically engineered (GE) mosquitoes to control populations.

The male transgenic mosquitoes, which are released to mate with females in the wild, carry a “suicide” or “self-destruct gene” that gets transferred to the offspring, killing them before they reach breeding maturity.[4] To achieve this, protein fragments from the herpes virus, E. coli bacteria, coral and cabbage looper moth were inserted into the insects. Biotech company Oxitec refers to their GE mosquitoes as a “non-chemical insecticide,” and these controversial creatures are now another step closer to being released on U.S. soil.

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Futuristic Nano Fabric May Eliminate the Need to Do Laundry, But at What Cost to Human and Environmental Health?

Futuristic Nano Fabric May Eliminate the Need to Do Laundry, But at What Cost to Human and Environmental Health?

22nd July 2016

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Standard methods of laundering clothing are rife with environmental problems, such as excessive water and electricity usage, as well as significant pollution. So when researchers develop innovative new fabrics that resist stains and soil — or do away with the need to launder altogether — it really does seem as if technology can rescue us from many of the ecological problems we face today. And yet, there’s usually a hidden drawback for every technological leap. In the case of futuristic and self-cleaning fabrics, a range of health and environmental consequences come into play.

The problem with modern laundry practices

Even with notable advancements in clothes washers and dryers, there’s still much to be desired in terms of wastefulness. A new, high-efficiency washer uses about 12 gallons of water per load and 25% less electricity than standard models. Older top-loading machines can require up to 45 gallons of water, whereas newer models use around 27 gallons. About 90% of total energy usage for any kind of washer is due to heating the water. However, the biggest energy drain comes not from a washing machine, but the dryer.

Continue Reading – Futuristic Nano Fabric May Eliminate the Need to Do Laundry, But at What Cost to Human and Environmental Health?

Jackfruit: Can This Nutritional Powerhouse Prevent Widespread Famine?

Jackfruit: Can This Nutritional Powerhouse Prevent Widespread Famine?

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Unlike the United States — where self-sufficiency and food security is persecuted — the government of Venezuela is pushing its population to grow urban gardens and raise chickens in response to severe food shortages. Venezuelan president Maduro himself produces everything his family eats with the help of 60 laying hens. While not considered a famine yet, the shortages are acute enough that malnutrition is a serious concern, especially in the case of children.

Venezuela is a prime location for both traditional and micro-farming due to broad areas of fertile land and appropriate growing climate. Even so, food shortages are still an increasingly unpleasant reality since the sheer quantity of edibles needed to feed the population outstrips the supply. Not to mention rising temperatures and unpredictable rainfall are already impacting global food production, as warned by the World Bank and United Nations. In the near future, lack of food security will be a very real threat for a great many countries. What’s happening in Venezuela is only the beginning.

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Honeybees Pick Up an Alarming Number of Pesticides from Non-Crop Plants, Purdue Researchers Find

Honeybees Pick Up an Alarming Number of Pesticides from Non-Crop Plants, Purdue Researchers Find

1st July 2016

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Honeybees have had a hard time over the last several decades — colony collapse disorder, habitat destruction and exposure to increasing levels of chemicals in the environment. Approximately 40% of bee colonies in the U.S. perished last year, and the numbers are climbing.

Dr. Dennis van Engelsdorp, an entomologist from the University of Maryland, believes there are three factors influencing the decline in honeybees: The varroa mite, poor nutrition and pesticides. Researchers are especially concerned about the latest findings from Purdue University, which found honeybees pick up an ‘astonishing’ level of pesticides during their rounds — much higher than previously thought.

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If You Care About Animals and the Earth, Here’s Why You Need to Boycott Palm Oil Immediately

If You Care About Animals and the Earth, Here’s Why You Need to Boycott Palm Oil Immediately

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Found in an astounding array of foods — like baked goods, cookies, chocolate, potato chips and milk — palm oil is in half of the packaged foods that line our supermarket shelves today. It’s also heavily used in cosmetics and toiletries, to increase the feeling of creaminess in products ranging from soap to shampoo, detergents and toothpaste. The oil is used increasingly for biofuel as well. Add to this a high demand in Myanmar and Indonesia as a replacement for coconut and peanut oil, and palm oil tops the list as the most widely used vegetable oil in the world, surpassing even soy.

What most people don’t realize is how damaging the crop is to rain forests, animals and the environment. It’s one of the most destructive crops in the world — and the situation is only becoming worse…

Continue Reading – If You Care About Animals and the Earth, Here’s Why You Need to Boycott Palm Oil Immediately

How a “No-Till” Method Can Grow Vegetable and Fruit Gardens Without Irrigation, Fertilizer or Grueling Labor

How a “No-Till” Method Can Grow Vegetable and Fruit Gardens Without Irrigation, Fertilizer or Grueling Labor

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Food self-sufficiency is a hot topic in the U.S. and beyond as our industrial agricultural system begins to crumble, poisonous conventional farming methods are brought to light and the crisis of our depleted topsoil looms ominously. In response to these threats, homesteading and community gardens are on the rise across the nation as people take control of both the quality and cost of their food. It’s a modern spin on the classic Victory Gardens of the past.

And yet, for anyone who has tilled, weeded and prepared their little patch of vegetable paradise, one aspect quickly becomes clear: growing your own food is work. Of the back-breaking kind. Truth be told, there’s quite a bit of maintenance involved once your green darlings begin to grow — insect and weed control, fertilizing to encourage healthy plants. I’ve also found that, unless you begin your plants from seed, growing your own food can be an expensive venture.

But what if we had a system in place that mimicked nature to such a degree that irrigation, fertilizer, farming equipment and hard labor were rendered obsolete? Where we could enjoy the most nutrient dense, succulent and flavorful produce for pennies on the dollar with minimal effort? This vision isn’t a pipe dream — it’s here now and simple to learn.

Continue Reading – How a “No-Till” Method Can Grow Vegetable and Fruit Gardens Without Irrigation, Fertilizer or Grueling Labor

Will Mushroom-Based Materials Replace Plastic With an Eco-Friendly Twist?

Will Mushroom-Based Materials Replace Plastic With an Eco-Friendly Twist?

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

As we well know, plastic is a serious issue throughout the world today. It takes hundreds — sometimes thousands — of years to biodegrade, releases toxic materials into the environment and harms marine wildlife. The problem is so dire that scientists believe plastic waste in the ocean will outnumber fish by 2050. We are literally unloading a dump truck full of plastic into the sea every minute. Not only does this toxic waste hurt wildlife and the environment, but it also makes its way into the food chain — and ends up on our dinner plates. Chemicals in plastics are linked with a spectrum of human health disorders, spanning from endocrine imbalances to cancer and heart disease.

Recycling the material is sketchy at best and even corn-based biodegradable plastics come with their own set of drawbacks. But it’s naive to think the material will disappear all together. What we need is an eco-friendly solution that will serve the purpose of plastic without consuming an inordinate amount of resources or displace the food supply. The answer might just be found in the most incredible of places: fungus roots.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Regrowing Fruits and Vegetables from Kitchen Scraps

A Beginner’s Guide to Regrowing Fruits and Vegetables from Kitchen Scraps

4th June 2016

By Jenny Tabada

Guest writer for Wake Up World

Can food scraps be grown again? Turns out, the vegetables and fruits you’ve picked from the grocery stores or harvested from your own backyard can be given another take on life, and another. All you need is the right ideas on how to regrow these assumed ‘food wastes’ on your own, from cuttings you’d normally throw out as kitchen scraps.

And the best part is: re-growing fruits or vegetables from kitchen scraps is plain easy. You can even do it indoors or in your potting and garden sheds. And a few composting tricks will also help you make growing easier.

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Tree Bombs: How Old Warplanes Can Plant Up to 900,000 Trees a Day

Tree Bombs: How Old Warplanes Can Plant Up to 900,000 Trees a Day

29th May 2016

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Imagine old military planes used to revitalize barren areas of the earth, instead of causing death and destruction to the environment and wildlife. This reality may be closer than you think. Former RAF pilot, Jack Walters of Shropshire, England, believes C-130 transport aircraft — originally used for carpeting landmines across combat zones — could easily be refitted to deliver something exceptionally beneficial and peaceful: tree bombs.

Peter Simmons, of Lockheed Martin aeronautical corporation, thinks the idea is very doable: “The possibilities are amazing. We can fly at 1,000ft at 130 knots planting more than 3,000 cones a minute in a pattern across the landscape – just as we did with landmines, but in this case each cone contains a sapling. That’s 125,000 trees for each sortie and 900,000 trees in a day.”

Continue Reading – Tree Bombs: How Old Warplanes Can Plant Up to 900,000 Trees a Day